Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tomato-Cucumber Salad

Yesterday, I finally got around to making a tomato-cucumber salad. I was pleased with how it turned out. I used another recipe as a foundation and then I tweaked a few ingredients for my final version.

I have a few thoughts to share. This salad sinks or sails based on the quality of tomatoes that you use. If you buy some of those sickly pinkish tomatoes that were picked long before they were ripe, your salad won't taste very good. So spend a little more and get good tomatoes. Whatever you do, don't substitute garlic powder for the garlic -- use the real thing. Trust me, you'll notice the difference.

Anyway, here is the recipe I prepared:

Fresh Tomato-Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
1-1/2 tablespoons of capers
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of dried oregano*
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large cucumber (with skin peeled)
2 large vine-ripened heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes
7 to 10 fresh basil leaves

* – If preferred, you can substitute a teaspoon of fresh oregano

1. Combine the first 8 ingredients (olive oil through oregano) and whisk in a large metal or non-reactive bowl. Then add the salt and pepper.

2. Wash the cucumber and tomatoes. Peel the cucumber and then cut it into slices roughly 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick. Cut each tomato in half, then cut each half into roughly eight pieces. Add cucumber and tomato slices to the oil mixture.

3. Tear each one of the basil leaves into two or three pieces, and then add them to the salad. Stir the salad once or twice, and cover with plastic or aluminum wrap — refrigerate for at least a half-hour to let the flavors meld. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, and then serve.

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